Modulations of the Electrophysiological Response to Pleasant Stimuli by Cognitive Reappraisal


Jason Krompinger, Jason S. Moser & Robert F. Simons


Department of Psychology, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA



Research indicates that individuals successfully regulate their emotions to negatively-valenced stimuli using cognitive, antecedent-focused techniques (cf. Gross, 1998). Recent ERP studies have elucidated candidate neural correlates, particularly modulations of the late positive potential (LPP) to index emotion regulation processes. The present study attempted to extend prior demonstrations of emotion regulation effects on the LPP to the domain of positively-valenced stimuli. Twenty participants completed a blocked emotion regulation task: the first block consisted of passively viewing pleasant and neutral pictures, while the last two blocks consisted of either decreasing or increasing emotions to pleasant pictures. Results replicated our previous findings with negatively-valenced stimuli, demonstrating an attenuated LPP during decrease instructions and no effect of increase instructions. Modulation of the ERP as a function of instruction was most prominent during the positive-going slow-wave time-window of the LPP, indicating that attentional resources allocated to the perceptual processing of pleasant stimuli may be manipulated via emotion regulation strategies.


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